Today’s eruption summary:
Lower East Rift Zone: Fissure 8 continues to build its oblong cinder and spatter cone. Overnight fountain heights were 130-140 ft, up to 53m (174ft) by the afternoon. Fissures 16 and 18 continue weak activity.
Fissure 8’s lava flow had a “towering” steam plume at its ocean entry point this morning. Areas of offshore upwelling have become more dispersed.
The daily summit explosion was at 3:39am, equivalent to M5.4 earthquake, with an ash plume 7-8K feet (NWS radar has been repaired). Slumping and subsidence continue at Halema’uma’u, and SO2 emissions remain about half pre-event levels.
Before and After: Changes at Halema’uma’u
Here’s a good view of Halema’uma’u taken at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, April 19, 2018 by Christoph Strässler (Creative Commons):
Compare with this animation from HVO webcam June 1-10, or the new drone footage later in this post.
Today’s Kilauea news daily digest is full of science, science, science! the usual slew of incredible pictures. Also, some glimmers of hope for lava evacuees, although as usual bureaucracy moves at the speed of of dirt.
USGS Daily 1.5 minute Briefing
Jessica Ball, USGS (Transcript)
She answers a question a lot of people have been asking about color of laze plume.
USGS MAP OF LAVA FIELD JUNE 13
USGS at Puna Community Meeting June 12
Video of meeting archived here: USGS Steve Brantley starts his presentation at timestamp 42:10, with slide of summit of Kilauea down to East Rift Zine.
Big picture: Magma started moving down from summit reservoir into LERZ Apr 30, started to erupt in Puna May 3, continues to erupt. In early May, summit began to deflate & subside, as consequence of magma moving out of reservoir.
Fissure 8 continues to erupt; fountains have changed in height [I think height is governed by gas pressure?] but no real change in amount of lava coming out. Built up cone over 100 feet tall. [Next slide]:
Channel (lower slope of cone, center of above photo) about 300 ft wide. One of concerns is overflow, failure of levee along side of channel. But in past week, lava channel has been very stable. Spillovers “just dribble over the side” and solidify, “maybe help to raise perched channel a little bit higher.” Channel now about 20-30 feet above old ground surface.
Continues to flow from F8 to ocean, about 8 miles. Entry about 1.25 miles wide, 250 acres new land, but it changes day to day: new land built, but bits slide into ocean. Very dynamic situation.
Summit: Over 3000 earthquakes at summit in past week. Most mag 1, largest are upper 4s or 5 range. Larger events within area of Halema’uma’u. Slide: Northern wall of Halema’uma’u is starting to slide into Halema’uma’u crater.
Aerial view of Halema’uma’u (above). Points out parking lot at left. That’s south side, starting to slip into as well, as magma withdraws from below.
Presentation’s last slide is a chart of similar events at Kilauea during past 200 years. Current enlargement of Halema’uma’u is on same scale as in 1924. There have been larger events in history of volcano, early 1800s, when Halema’uma’u was active and whole caldera was much deeper. When westerners arrived about 1823/4, caldera was about 1700 feet deep. Right now, only 500ft. “Change is the name of the game.”
Civil Defense / Other Officials
Mayor Harry Kim Tweeted: “Eruption Update June 13 at 1200. NWS reports light winds will bring vog inland & south, wrapping around the Kona area. Heavy vog conditions expected to remain until early next week. Limit outside activities if you have breathing issues.” He also tweeted about “Animal Rescue Planning Task Force Formed”
USGS Q&A On Social Media
USGS Volcano Observatory scientists have shared great info while answering questions on social media. I’m trying to summarize/consolidate some of these. (The questions are a fascinating glimpse into human psychology: some people seem almost dissatisfied with what the eruption’s actually doing and keep pressing the USGS to tell them it might do something far worse.)
Stats and figures
- Fissure 8 effusion rate: ~100cubic meters/second = ~26,000 US gallons/s = 12 commercial dump trucks/s
- Channel’s banks “more than 15 m (50ft) high in some places.”
- Average basalt has density of 3000kg/cubic meter, so 1 cubic meter = ~6600 lbs
- Lava coming out of fissure 8 around 1,100°C (2012°F)
- HVO staff: 30, plus “a dozen+ other USGS scientists” assisting right now
- Deepest part of Halema’uma’u Crater floor now 1000ft below rim.
- 26 years between last lava lake disappearing (1982) and new one forming (2008)
Ongoing Lava Activity / Duration
Q: Eruption seems to have stabilized? What’s likelihood of new fissures or activity increase? A: Still a possibility. LERZ fissure eruptions typically weeks to months, but don’t know how much longer this one will last.
Q: What factors influence duration? Is forecast possible? A: “Some controls include the amount of magma available in the fissure system, the availability of a clear path to the surface, and the gas available to drive the magma out of the system. We can’t determine all of these from the surface, so we can’t forecast time or intensity.”
Q: Does height of fountain indicate lava pressure? (Names past examples) A: “It is related to the gas available in the magma and the pressure of magma in the rift system, yes, but we haven’t quantified the relationship yet. It’s true, we haven’t seen the very tall fountains of
#KilaueuaIki or #MaunaUlu.”
I haven’t seen Pele’s hair since an 8th grade field trip to the Big Island! pic.twitter.com/UA8ciKoYOI
— @jeffersonite (@jeffersonite) June 13, 2018
Q: “Is golden reticulite being produced in this eruption?” A: “Technically this tephra is still pumice. Our last measurement of the vesicularity (around June 7) measured it at 92-93%. Reticulite has to be 96%+ vesiculated, and has a lighter color and thinner bubble walls than what we’re seeing come out of fissure 8.”
Q: Are levees made of lava? A: “Yes, the levees are made from lava that splashes up out of the channel and cools. As it piles up, it makes the walls of the channel higher. We call it a levee because it raises the channel above the ground surface.”
Q: How close can one approach flow with protective gear? A: “The area is closed to those who are not residents or actively involved in the eruption response. When preforming measurements of the channel, we use caution crossing old/cold flows b/c ground is very unstable & could overflow. Then, 50m+ from margin.”
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano LATEST: Aerial views of the #LERZ ocean entry taken during the last USGS overflight shows multiple small lava streams along the southern portion of the lava delta in #KapohoBay & laze plume https://t.co/8mEf5CnqOv @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/uLNvw28Wos
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) June 14, 2018
Summit Subsidence & Explosions
Q: Why less damage in 1924, with ~4m subsidence [of whole caldera/summit, I think]. Now only ~1.5 deflation, but “drastic changes.” A: current summit explosions have lasted longer than 2.5 weeks in 1924. Possible more magma from summit has moved down into East Rift Zone than back then.
Like clockwork… pic.twitter.com/MOsT8UH1zG
— Jascha Polet (@CPPGeophysics) June 13, 2018
Q: Increasing peaks something to worry about? A: “That is an interesting trend, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to get larger explosions. It is an indication that more energy is being released through earthquakes. In fact, the explosions have been getting smaller and more ash-poor as time goes on.”
Q People keep asking if it’s building up to a much bigger eruption. USGS keeps responding with variants of, “That is one possibility, although it will not be as large or violent as a stratovolcano eruption –
#Kilauea doesn’t behave like that. It’s also possible that the rubble could block up the conduit and shut off the explosions completely (though not necessarily the earthquakes).”
Q: Wasn’t there supposed to be a big explosion when lava pool subsided to groundwater level? A: “That occurred in mid-May, and we did see that some explosions occurred as a result of that interaction. Initially, explosions from
#Halemaumau were a bit larger (plumes up to 30,000 feet). However, #Kilauea is not the type of volcano to have a “climactic” explosive eruption.”
Q: Can steaming cracks around Halema’uma’u Crater become fissures? A: Fissuring requires magma, and tends to happen in Kilauea’s East Rift Zone. Summit cracks are steaming from groundwater penetrating still-hot rocks.
That would depend on your definition of 'recorded'. Hawaiian oral history goes back quite a bit longer than written accounts of summit activity, but both have mentioned #Halema'uma'u collapsing. We just don't know how long it took. In the end, one data point isn't enough to say!
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) June 13, 2018
Rumor/Conspiracy Theory whack-a-mole
There’s been a lot of fear caused by a hoaxster (also known for convincing gullible people of a supposed 2015 volcanic eruption near Flagstaff, Arizona which turned out to be a forest fire and controlled burn). His latest conspiracy theory claims scientists are “hiding” earthquakes. USGS have explained again and again and again that automated computer software and instruments aren’t 100% perfect in identifying and interpreting seismic signals, and have to be checked/verified/corrected by seismologists. They’ve also pointed to old FAQs on the USGS earthquake page the hoaxster is ranting about; these actually answer his questions:
- FAQ: How do seismologists locate an earthquake?
- FAQ: Why do some earthquakes disappear from the map/list?
From other scientists
- Mark Kaufman, Gizmodo: “Is Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano shooting green gems into the air?”
- Robin Andrews, IFLScience: “Gemstones Are Reportedly Raining Down From the Sky Right Now in Hawaii” — not yet USGS confirmed, although possible:
From Local Hawaiian News Outlets
- Eruption News / Science
HNN: “The incredible scope of the Big Island eruptions, a disaster with no end in sight” Spoiler: about 30 billion gallons have erupted since May 11.
HNN: “USGS: Quakes at Kilauea summit following ‘fairly reliable pattern'”
HSA: “Lava continues to pour into ocean at Kapoho Bay”
HNN: “Inside and outside, Jaggar Museum sees big impacts of Kilauea explosions” (a few photos, plus recap of Jessica Ferracane’s remarks in Jun 12 USGS conference call)
- Human (and Nonhuman) Impact
HNN: “As eruptions drag on, businesses and workers face uncertain future”
HTH: “Ige requests federal assistance programs for volcano evacuees”
HNN: “Ige seeks payouts for victims of eruptions, but not everyone qualifies”
KITV: “Animal rescue and assessment on the Big Island top priority for these two groups”
HTH: “County hoping Disaster Assistance Center can open by weekend”
BIVN: (Video and article below): “Puna Airstrip Paved, Eyed for Temporary Housing”
HPR: “#Lava in Old Hawaiian Newspapers” (1800s accounts of lava events)
HSA: Trump stopped in Hawaii for Air Force One refuel on way back from Korea, but stayed on AFB— he has yet to mention Kilauea, express support, or visit as he did for Texans after Harvey
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano UPDATE: As FEMA continues assessment to determine whether Puna will qualify for individual assistance, property owners & tax payers with unpermitted homes wonder if they’ll be included in tally https://t.co/8QH1A4CZKr @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/Ru8qZzhpQy
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) June 13, 2018
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano UPDATE: Another incredible aerial view taken this morning of the unbelievable amount of lava erupting from the #fissure8 fountain in #LeilaniEstates as USGS reports no indication its slowing https://t.co/n6t3dKjSC6 @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/cFLb6AJBil
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) June 13, 2018
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano UPDATE (June 13 at 4 PM): In the foreground of this picture are the #LeilaniEstates homes that have been spared… but underneath #Fissure8 and the unbelievable amount of lava it has produced over the last several weeks are many houses that have been claimed. Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige signed a request today asking the federal government to provide individual assistance to hundreds of Hawaiʻi Island residents whose homes are now gone. FEMA officials say that assessments are underway to see if the ongoing disaster meets the criteria needed for that assistance. The Governor hopes for approval to access six grant programs some of the grants authorize and approve temporary housing, offer relocation assistance and some help busiensses that have been impacted by the eruption. The request from Governor Ige comes as lava continues to spew from the ground in lower Puna, nearly six weeks after eruptions started. So far, more than 112 million cubic meters of lava have erupted from 24 fissures that opened up along a 3.8-mile line that cuts through Leilani Estates, ground zero for the ongoing eruptions. The U.S. Geological Survey Survey said Wednesday that fissure no. 8 — the only remaining active outbreak — is pumping out as much as 26,000 gallons per second, or enough to fill 12 commercial dump trucks per second. It continues to create a channelized lava flow that's emptying into the sea off Kapoho. Geologists estimate that at least 270 acres of new land have now been formed. Hawai’i Island Mayor Harry Kim has said lava has claimed as many as 700 homes, taking out whole communities. The official number of homes claimed is 455, some 192 of which are primary residences, the governor's office said. Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource (Photo taken by @malikadudley on Monday)
Social Media Roundup
It’s totally humbling to see an entire community wiped from the map by lava from #Kilauea. I believe the county’s mayor and several geologists had homes in #Vacationland. Images by @jscarto using #Landsat and #Sentinel2 data. https://t.co/voWt5q1HIU pic.twitter.com/OEUBkBCodc
— Adam Voiland (@avoiland) June 13, 2018
False color composite of infrared and visual data:
Kilauea Volcano🌋 lava flows near #Kapoho and Vacationland Hawaii #Hawaii #USA🇺🇸 12 June 2018 Naturalized SWIR/VIS #Copernicus #Sentinel-2B🛰️ Full-size: https://t.co/rCJp194WRP Album with more images: https://t.co/j9EYAddUfB #KilaueaVolcano #hawaiivolcano #volcano pic.twitter.com/KSG9xkNNaL
— Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) June 13, 2018
Here’s the original IR image and a color-corrected image to show what it would look like to human eye.
Yet more green stuff brought up from the mantle in basalt:
olivine xenoliths contained within basalt, Dice Mineral Museum at Calvin College pic.twitter.com/Vr9jsZPKg3
— David Bressan (@David_Bressan) June 13, 2018
Sometimes, that olivine comes from the erosion of oceanite, i.e. of olivine-rich basalt pic.twitter.com/nUKYlhzPHq
— Arianna Soldati (@AriannaSoldati) June 13, 2018
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) June 13, 2018
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano: In the foreground are #LeilaniEstates homes that have been spared, but underneath #Fissure8 & the lava its produced over several weeks are houses that have been claimed https://t.co/pFF5pSDq2D @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews (Photo: @MalikaDudley) pic.twitter.com/HgZl2MwQI7
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) June 14, 2018
The @GovHawaii released my map of homes lost in Puna to the press today. 👍
Governors office didn't include a URL for the map for the press to link to, or attribution. 👎
— Dane duPont (@GeoGolfHawaii) June 14, 2018
On Kilauea Volcano, fissure 8, is spewing out 26,000 gallons of lava per second, feeding this humongous lava river, that is flowing eight miles, from the middle of Leilani Estates subdivision in Puna, into the ocean, beyond what used to be Kapoho Bay. I still have a hard time wrapping my head around this, that is is really happening. I contemplate this from the summit of Kilauea Volcano, which is seeing almost continuous earthquakes from the collapse of Halemaumau crater, and the subsidence of the caldera. #lavariver #puna #kilauea #volcano #hawaii #gbradlewis
20180613 @ 12:30 HST Maunakea Summit . 150° panoramic view of the Milky Way over glows of Fissure 8, Hilo, and an amalgamation of cloud cover in the east. A tiny self-portrait in the foreground sits at 13,000ft elevation on the summit of Maunakea. . @kizmitcycle.says.mrao @tuan_too_nice for the pro-assist . My respect and best wishes go out to the neighborhood of Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens, and the areas within and between Kapoho. My heart especially goes out to all of my friends who have lost their homes in this fissure eruption. I am at a loss for words. _____ . #kapoho #lava #bigisland #leilani #lavaoceanentry #milkyway #geology #astronomy #stars #fissure #hilo #bigisland
— the Weatherboy (@theWeatherboy) June 14, 2018